PREPARING FOR TAKE-OFF

JeniLynn Knopp (234 Posts)

JeniLynn was born and raised in South Florida. Being so close to Walt Disney World, she grew up regularly visiting the Mouse and developed a fascination with the creativity of Disney Parks. Noticing that her happiest moments seemed to always take place in Walt Disney World, JeniLynn began trying to recreate the magic of Disney in her everyday life beginning in her pre-teen years. Adulthood, sixteen years of marriage, and three children later, JeniLynn continues to lead a Disney Driven Life and diligently works to pass her love for Disney on to her husband and children. She has blogged for Touring Plans and been a contributing writer for The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, and she currently co-hosts Orlando Attractions Magazine: The Show; however, her primary focus has always been with the community that has grown around her own site, The Disney Driven Life. Through these venues JeniLynn strives to help other Disney fans stay connected to the brand that has served as a keystone in her family’s life.


“This is not a good start,” I say to myself as I frantically wake the children, prepare them to leave, and pack the van. I have only slept two hours out of the last 24 due to my frenzied state of last minute preparations for Disney’s Social Media Moms Celebration. Having registered for the event a couple months ago, I would normally have all of my Donald Ducks in a row. Recent events, however, have kept me from my usual, diligent readiness.

No more than six weeks ago, Joel and I decided to take a big leap and move our family to Florida. It has been something we’ve discussed for about a year. Our last annual trek to Disney inspired the notion, and the idea has continued to grow in our hearts.

The house has to be renovated before it is sellable, so the NDKs and I had to leave immediately, allowing for the projects to begin. Therefore, within the last six weeks I have put away the Christmas decorations, packed up our important possessions, maintained a homeschooling schedule, and moved us into two bedrooms and one bathroom in Florida . . . at Grammy’s house.

Joel was left behind in Virginia to manage the remodeling and tie up business affairs with his partner. I miss him terribly, but in the next hour he should be boarding a plane to meet me in Orlando for this incredible family extravaganza within the context of mommy blogging. In the meantime, I have to get my kids and myself ready for the ball and loaded into our coach for a 2 1/2 hour drive down I-95.

“Oh no!” I lament as I glance at the time. We are behind schedule when I finally pull out of the South Florida driveway at 7:30am. My fellow blogging NDMs are going to arrive sometime between 9 and 9:30am, and I feel a sense of urgency as I push the gas pedal a little closer to the car floor. I can’t stand the idea of people having fun at Disney without me, and I acknowledge that Aladdin’s magic carpet would come in handy right about now.

The cell phone rings; it’s Joel. “Hi sweetie,” I cheerfully greet.  “Hey,” he replies in a concerned tone. “The blizzard that was dumped on us yesterday is causing some problems. The first flight out of here was just canceled, and most of the flights out of here are oversold. I’m not sure if I’m going to make it.” My heart freezes. Not only does this mean I may not see my Prince Charming but I’ve never been on a Disney trip without him since we’ve had kids.

Because I have come to depend on him in some ways, I am slightly out of practice when it comes to the menial duties of Disney vacationing (like remembering room numbers, keeping track of park tickets and monitoring expenses). I am the brains behind all of the leg-work that is done before a trip like formulating park strategies, making Advanced Dining Reservations and packing. I can also run through a vacation itinerary like its nobody’s business. It has become apparent over the years, though, that once I pass through the hallowed gates of the Walt Disney World Resort I become a wide-eyed bubble that floats on Cloud Nine. The atmosphere of Disney is a distraction to me because it is far more important to look for Hidden Mickeys than to remember something as uninteresting as where we parked the car. I wonder and worry about my ability to focus on the less magical yet completely critical aspects of this trip while managing my three dwarves. Then I remember THE KIDS! How am I going to attend the conference sessions without someone to watch my little people?

My mind immediately starts thinking of alternative modes of transportation for Joel. At this late hour neither car nor train are an option since they wouldn’t get him here in time. As a result, travel by land is out. It is pretty obvious that travel by sea is a no-go as well since I am certain there are no cruises that sail from central Virginia to central Florida. That leaves us with travel by air which is currently hindered by the worst snowstorms to strike many parts of the country in 15 years. I fight the urge to hyperventilate, but I know that if anything keeps me from attending my very first special event hosted by Disney I will lose my Mickey-loving mind.

“Breathe . . . breathe,” I speak out loud after I hang up with Joel. A friend of mine on Twitter had warned me prior to leaving that I shouldn’t worry about “stuff” until it actually transpires. The advice is so good, but it is hard to put into practice. In the life of a Neurotic Disney Mom, anything that endangers a Disney experience not only causes worry but it practically paralyzes her mental faculties.

I press a little harder on the gas pedal and comfort myself by chanting, “Once we get there it will be OK. Once we get there it will be OK.” But something deep within gnaws at my heart, tormenting me with the possibility that not all of us will get there.

JeniLynn Knopp

JeniLynn was born and raised in South Florida. Being so close to Walt Disney World, she grew up regularly visiting the Mouse and developed a fascination with the creativity of Disney Parks. Noticing that her happiest moments seemed to always take place in Walt Disney World, JeniLynn began trying to recreate the magic of Disney in her everyday life beginning in her pre-teen years. Adulthood, sixteen years of marriage, and three children later, JeniLynn continues to lead a Disney Driven Life and diligently works to pass her love for Disney on to her husband and children. She has blogged for Touring Plans and been a contributing writer for The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, and she currently co-hosts Orlando Attractions Magazine: The Show; however, her primary focus has always been with the community that has grown around her own site, The Disney Driven Life. Through these venues JeniLynn strives to help other Disney fans stay connected to the brand that has served as a keystone in her family’s life.